Keeping stuff cold but not frozen
We live off the grid and I am trying to figure out a way to keep things cold but not frozen such as milk,eggs. We have permafrost so digging in the ground is out of the question. I am trying to avoid buying a small fridge because next year we are hoping to buy a propane fridge.
We tried several things that worked somewhat. We kept everything in a couple coolers that we kept behind the bed against an outside wall, as far from the heat source as possible. One cooler we were in and out of daily. When things were not chilled enough we set the coolers outside for a few hours. Eggs will keep a long time if moderatly cool. Fresh eggs will keep for a long time at room temperature. We used boxed milk quite a bit. Small enough containers that we could just set them on the window sill behind a curtain after they were opened. Once you have enough snow you can bury the coolers in a snow bank and things won't freeze for several days.
We now have a propane fridge and really like it. Works well, freezes things, holds temperature well and it is QUIET.
Yeah we buy the "real milk" as well. We have one of those Coleman coolers that is suppose to keep stuff cold for days. I tried just putting a can of soda in it and putting it on the porch,result frozen can. So you think that if I put it outside and bank it all over with snow that would keep it without freezing? What about sitting it down with hay bales around it and a piece of sheet rock or insulation board on top?
walton feed has a powder milk in diff flavors and no-10-cans and 5.gallon pails sized called morning moo it comes in regular and choc milk flavors
blue chip group inc has morning moo milk in diff flavors for mixing -x-flavors-x-regular-choc-strawberry-orange-flavors
just make sures that you have a good mixing jug for mixing the powder into the water
look around on the internet you will find some diff companys
For Fall and Spring, we used to build a slat-wood-type framed box on the outside of a cabin, with a cut-out through the cabin wall (log or framed, though log is easier) like a small window, for however large your seasonal 'refrigerator' was/is going to be. Screening was placed around it to keep bugs from getting through the cracks in the intentionally-breezy box. The opening inside of the cabin consisted of a standard cupboard door with a glass center in oak surrounding, or what ever we'd scored for the job, and some weather stripping (narrow foam strip) around the seal of the door. You could use custom insulated door if you wanted, too.
Place it on the north side for gaining more time in the Fall and Spring toward the warm months, but it'll also be apt to freeze more there on the cooler side of those seasons, too.
You could seasonally add layers of foam to the outside of the box with straps as well, and regulate temperatures in the box by cracking the door to various degrees of openness.
I've used a similar method to thaw frozen moose in game bags for processing, but where I was worried about not getting it too warm. I'd place it on my back entryway, open the window a crack out there with the screen in place, and open the kitchen door to varying degrees until I reached the proper temps (No heat in my entryway, other than from the house). In the serious cold months, I would leave the window closed completely, and just open the kitchen door to various degees, and it worked well every time.
If you're in permafrost, I should still think that with a trap door built into the floor, and a pick & sharp shovel, you could still manage to hollow out some semblance of a root cellar, even if it's a small one. There's no natural refrigerator like the ground. Steady temps, and a low utility bill..
If you're worried about moisture from the digging into or near the ice lense/frost, you might consider water-tighting the bottom area of the root cellar, and even insulating with a stout amount of foam directly under the bottom, with less or no foam to the sides, assuming that the 'box' is dug deeply enough to get sufficient cooling from the sides.
Just some thoughts.
That's a good idea. If you have a window on the north side that opens you could frame a box around it. You could use the window for the door. A north window in the winter is useless anyway. Just make it a temporary box that could be taken down in the summer when you actually have light on that side of the house.
Originally Posted by ruffle
As I tried to explain earlier, insulating around the box to what ever degree the weather requires, during the colder months, and managing the amount which the door to it is open, can extend the use of the 'refrigerator box' well into the freezing months, if not all year. You just need to place a thermometer in the box (or a small bowl of water?), and watch the weather trends to adjust it properly on a daily basis.